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New generation pre-fabricated quick launch bridges boon for landslide prone areas

| | Dehradun | in Dehradun

New generation pre-fabricated quick launch bridges now playing a major role in augmenting infrastructure, especially in the landslide- prone difficult terrains, they are proving a boon for Uttarakhand aside from Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and North East states, many experts say. Innovative technique of building large number of such bridges in a short span of time and also at low cost is fast picking up in these States as elsewhere across the world in view of their advantages.

It is learnt that the Indian road network consists of more than one lakh bridges. Besides,  over 30,000 bridges standing  on the Indian railways network are over 100 years old. In this situation, evolution of technologies that facilitate quick construction of bridges on a running line are the need of the hour, the experts say.

They further say that the concept that the new generation quick launch bridges are expensive is a myth. “They are rather cost-effective while they are far more superior as compared to the presently used Bailey Bridges.  Apparently  the quick launch bridges might seem more expensive. But  in the final analysis, installation of such bridges saves resources. They have long term advantages,” said International Road Federation chairman KK Kapila. 

It is further learnt that the quick launch bridges are handy when there is pressure of time such as during the disasters when some key areas are cut off or when there is a pressure to speed up a project where time is adversely affecting the cost of the project.  They are also handy for projects in difficult terrains where the approach to the work site is critical, it is claimed.

The experts cite an emergency created after a 36m span Bailey Bridge collapsed  in June 2015 at Sonprayag, cutting off the Kedernath route. At the time,  it was decided to  launch a permanent bridge  - a longer span, Class 70 R ACROW Bridge. This proved to be a permanent and more cost- effective solution and return on the investment accrued the same year, allowing the Yatra to take place in April 2016, the experts claim, adding that it is a permanent bridge launched quickly.

While comparing such bridges with Bailey Bridges vis-à-vis their advantages and disadvantages, the experts say that Bailey Bridge is designed as a temporary or at best a semi-permanent bridge with a life of 20 years while quick launch bridges have a life of 75 to 100 years. While the Bailey is used with load restrictions, choking the NHs, restricting both traffic flow and loads, the quick launch bridges pose no such problems. Many of the  Bailey Bridges have collapsed due to overloading, not meeting the aspirations of the locals who want to utilise the NHs to its full capacity to derive commercial benefits while the quick launch bridges are free from these disadvantages.

They are of the opinion that the such quick launch bridges should be used increasingly in the mountainous state endowed with strategic importance.

 “Besides, the state houses the revered four shrines where millions of people flock on pilgrimage every year. Collapse of a bridge might upset  many things at the same time. Which is why  alternative quick launch bridges should be increasingly used to keep things normal even in the difficult terrains,” says an expert.




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